“The Social Media Effect”

The world has drastically changed than what it was a few decades ago. Science and technology has brought unprecedented development in communication and transportation. Social media has become almost accessible to everyone. Consequently, the idea of a global community by utilizing the vast network of the internet is also on the rise. 

In this modernized world where everything is more sophisticated, human relations have also evolved. People are more focused on getting jobs, pursuing degrees, and are trying to secure a privileged life. The dynamics of human relations like friendship, family and society have also evolved.  People are more ambitious, and living a comfortable life has been the top priority of many. However, there are downsides of such pursuit of a luxurious life. People are increasingly feeling inadequate; loneliness has been more pervasive, and different researches show that our generation is mostly restless and unhappy. 

Nowadays, it’s easy to get tempted with what we see on social media. While there are advantages of being on such platforms, it can be equally detrimental for us as well. I am talking about the implicit effect that social media has on our mental health. Those extravagant pictures of our friends and strangers that we see, the near-perfect life different celebrities try to portray, they not only make us compare ourselves with them, but it also pushes us to seek instant gratification. By nature, human beings want to feel validated and appreciated. We feel secure when things around us operate in certain patterns, so we can plan and act in a respective way. But while everyone around us seems to do okay with their lives while we get constantly bugged with problems, in times like these, our mental health can suffer. Our motivation to work might plummet, we might think and worry unnecessarily about anything and everything. There are also some noticeable physical disorders like significant tiredness and low energy, irregular eating habits, headaches and panic attacks. 

It’s also necessary for us to understand that oftentimes, we experience mental illness without actively recognizing it. It feels as usual, but it’s important to closely examine the subtle changes that we see within ourselves. To begin with, we can start with a few questions. Is my sleep pattern regular? Do I have a constant mood or emotional state? Do I get angry or sad easily? Has my relationship with family and friends not like it used to be before? If the answers to these questions are negative, it could mean that something isn’t right within us. It could also mean that we might have to seek medical treatment like visiting a psychiatrist and taking different counselling services and therapy. 

It’s important to realize that taking care of our mental health is equally important  as taking care of other aspects of our health. Developing small positive habits like waking up early, meditation, exercises, reducing our time on social media, consuming healthy foods can have a drastic impact on how we think and how we live our life in the longer run. At some point in life, we need to start being responsible for ourselves and for people around us. This idea of responsibility comes in various forms. It is an obligation to take care of our body by eating well, and doing exercises. It is a realization that we need to look for each other, and offer help to those who need it. It is an understanding that we don’t have a choice in everything. We can’t control how people around us behave, or what they post on social media. We can’t control the traffic on the way to our office. But what we can control is how we choose to respond. And therefore, it becomes a responsibility of us to rather work on things that make us better human beings, for example: our communication skills, how we present ourselves to other members of the society, our daily habits, what we read and what we speak. 

All of us are limited human beings, with only so much we can do to change things. We should learn to accept and embrace things, and should try to stay positive and optimistic. We should allow ourselves to safely feel the feelings, share and express them, and talk with others about them. A proper mental health is a big aspect of our overall well being, but it’s small steps that keep us on track and allow us to experience a healthy mind and body. 

— Arjun, Kathmandu.

* This is a submitted post *  

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